Lead Teacher: The Snow Lions
Rachel is the pre-K/K teacher for the 2020-2021 school year. Her playful exuberance and many years of experience give our early childhood program a beautiful foundation from which children can thrive. We asked Rachel to introduce herself.
I am thrilled to be joining the Middle Way School community after 15 years at Poughkeepsie Day, where I taught in a range of single-grade classes and mixed-age groups spanning pre-K through grade 4.
I was born and raised in New Paltz. After graduating from Hampshire College, where I studied ethnobotany, there were two things I felt fairly certain about: I wanted to travel and I wanted to live in New York City. Fortunately, both of those hopes were realized. Soon after settling in New York, a friend mentioned that the school where she worked was hiring and she suggested I apply. She just had a hunch that I would be a good fit there. This chance meeting marks the beginning of my professional life as an early childhood educator.
I worked at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn as a preschool teacher. I quickly fell in love with my job and was eager to soak up as much as possible about teaching. I have always considered myself a people person and found through my work with young children that they embody some of the qualities I am most drawn to in my connections with others; curiosity, inquisitiveness, creativity, honesty, the ability to be raw and vulnerable, silliness and a sense of fearlessness. Honoring these qualities in the classroom serve as a foundation for creating a safe and caring community in which children are comfortable taking risks, asking questions, forming friendships, and learning to problem solve.
After teaching at Saint Ann’s for 7 years, my husband Kevin and I moved back Upstate to raise our daughter, Stella, by far our greatest source of joy. I decided to pursue a MST in early childhood education at SUNY, New Paltz shortly after we settled. While completing my degree I continued to work at various independent schools both in NYC and upstate, eager to stay involved with children in the classroom setting.
Fifteen years ago, I found my way to Poughkeepsie Day School, having always loved the school back from when I was a teenager growing up in New Paltz. I consider PDS the place where I truly fine-tuned my philosophy of education. I learned alongside some of the wisest, most thoughtful and experienced colleagues, I formed relationships with many inspiring families, and cemented my passion for early childhood education. I am so excited for this next chapter at the Middle Way School.